Before the Rev. Elmer L. Ritzman founded the publication you are now reading, he made visits with fellow steam hobbyists, and then sent out a printed letter to ask collectors whether he should start a magazine.
He dated the printed letter July 29, 1946. It told of his travels, and ended with a message that started this way:
'We propose....One of the reasons for this letter is to get those of the same interests introduced. We have always felt the need for a magazine that would give vent to our feelings. Maybe we can get one started some time. Let us try!'
He promised another letter, asking for names and interests of other collectors. The letter was printed as a four-page folder.
C Everett Young, Box 83, Kinzers, Pennsylvania 17535, gave us a copy of this letter. Young's father, the late Arthur S. Young, was a founder of the Rough and Tumble Engineers at Kinzers, and good friend of Elmer Ritzman. Everett is also a longtime Rough and Tumble Iron-Man.
In the letter, the Rev. Ritzman gave names of his hosts. Those who are living probably remember the visits warmly.
Among those mentioned in the letter were Russell Williams, of Clearfield, Pennsylvania; O. T. Oaks, Greenville, Pennsylvania; Ormann Keyser, Canton, Ohio; Carlton Johnson, Clio R.D. 1, Michigan; Eugene T. Walker, Alma, Michigan; Leroy Blaker, Alvertdon, Ohio; and James W. Chandler, Frankfort, Indiana.
Also Roy Wise, Lorain, Illinois; Fred W. Kiser, Pittsfield, Illinois; Oscar Buscher, R.D. 3, Edwardsville, Illinois; Lee Harrison and Steve A. Seibert, Harrison Machine Works, Belleville, Illinois; Robert Keck, of the Keck Gonnerman plant; Brady Meltzer, Shelbyville, Indiana; Roy Mitchell and Luther Cadwell, Rushville, Indiana; Homer F. Holp and his father John, R. D. 2, Brookville, Ohio; Leroy Wolf, Xenia, Ohio; Robert A. Darby, Columbus, Ohio and E. C. Foreman, Tocomo, Ohio.
Obviously, Elmer was greatly encouraged by the response. He brought out the first issue of his magazine, titling it The Farm Album, in the winter of 1946. That was Volume 1, No. 1. the name was later changed, but we are trying to keep up the tradition and quality he started. This is now Volume 31heading for 32. Thank you for being with us.